The Wii U Gamepad as seen at this year’s E3 conference. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired
Nintendo’s next game console, the Wii U, will rely on downloadable games and the Nintendo Network to drive profits, president Satoru Iwata told shareholders during a recent meeting in Kyoto, Japan. Such online services will be key to maintaining “momentum” in the console market, as the Wii U, the 3DS, and “future” Nintendo platforms will all be connected to the same network.
Iwata stressed the importance of the Nintendo Network in response to a question about adding fees to cover costs of expanding online services. Iwata said the company was “not considering” any subscription fees and that by letting users recommend games to each other over the Miiverse communication service, Wii U owners will be enticed to buy more games.
“Even if we will not directly get paid by such online services,” Iwata said, “they will help build the circumstance where consumers are more constantly playing games on our platforms, which will increase the sales potential of new games.”
Iwata also faulted the lack of such a strong online network in explaining the recent decline in Wii sales despite such strong results in the early years. Iwata said that as the number of Wii games decreases over time “the Wii has no such system as the Miiverse in the Nintendo Network… in which consumers have a chance to encounter new games in communication with others.” He said that lack of interpersonal recommendations caused the Wii’s “momentum” to fade.
Iwata said that the sales pace of the 3DS had decreased in North America and Europe in 2012, but said that with the release of New Super Mario Bros. 2 and the 3DS XL, “one of our immediate top-priority missions is to create sales momentum which can wipe this type of concern away.”